Bodies recovered in sea search
Three people have drowned off the west coast in the last 24 hours.
The bodies of two missing fishermen were found near Spanish Point in Co Clare shortly before lunchtime by local divers.
A search for the men had been underway since the their fishing boat, the Lady Eileen, failed to return to port at Quilty yesterday afternoon.
Coast Guard search teams and a Coastguard Sikorsky helicopter from Sligo were involved in the search.
Maurice Curtin, from the Irish Coast Guard Rescue Co-ordination Centre, said the two fishermen were from the local area. “A lot of fishermen fish in and out of Quilty, and we know the men are local,” he said.
Earlier today the body of a man in his 60s was taken from the sea early off west Cork following a major search co-ordinated by the Irish Coast Guard.
The body was recovered by Castletownbere lifeboat at around 1.30am off Cod's Head between Allihies and Eyries on the Beara Peninsula.
The victim - who has been named locally as farmer and poet John O'Leary from Barness in Allihies - was out on a small boat with his son, Christopher (18), when the boat overturned.
Mr O’Leary, a father of three, was sailing with his son when their dinghy capsized. The pair clung to the boat for four hours before his son swam to shore and raised the alarm.
A rescue helicopter later spotted the body of Mr O’Leary.
The incident is understood to have happened close to shore. Weather conditions were said to have been fine when the father and son set sail in the afternoon.
Local councillor Jerry Sullivan, who lives nine miles from Mr O’Leary’s home in Allihies, said the village was reeling from the news. “John was a quiet and inoffensive type,” said Mr Sullivan.
“He enjoyed the craic when he was out with friends - an extremely well-liked boy and popular in the area.
“There has been great shock throughout the town this morning. Anyone I have talked to about it has been very upset by it.”
The Fine Gael councillor said the weather would have been beautiful when Mr O’Leary and his son decided to go out on the boat.
“It was very sunny and fine - that probably encouraged them,” he said.
“It’s very shocking and very frightening.” Mr O’Leary was originally from Boston, in the US. He moved to the area more than 30 years ago.
He was father to daughter Roisin and sons Christopher and Ralph. The farmer also used to take part in the village’s annual Allihies Festival, which is due to take place tomorrow. Organisers of the festival, which will still go ahead, said he used to enter his horses into the racing event.
In a third incident, three people were rescued after a fishing vessel capsized, also off Co Clare.
The 5.5metre boat overturned off Freagh Island, a popular sea fishing spot not far from Liscannor and Spanish Point. The Doolin lifeboat was alerted at 12.27pm and shortly afterwards pulled three people from the water and took them to shore.
Their conditions are not known at this stage.
Additional reporting: PA